The EPA responds to complaints about emissions to air from vessels including cruise ships, working with TasPorts if a vessel is in port and running engines to generate power, or otherwise within State waters.
The Hobart Port air station, previously located on Princes Wharf in the CSIRO site, was established by the EPA in early 2017 to monitor ambient concentrations of sulphur dioxide principally from ships docked in the Hobart Port area. The location for the station was chosen after preliminary air dispersion computer modelling was conducted.
Measurements of ambient concentrations of sulphur dioxide were recorded between 2017 and 2020. The concentrations of sulphur dioxide measured were all well below the relevant hour-averaged and day-averaged national air quality standards.
The potential impact of sulphur dioxide emissions from cruise ships has been significantly reduced following the introduction of an international regulation which has required all ships and vessels to use fuel oil with sulphur content not exceeding 0.5% since 1 January 2020. Previously, the allowed sulphur content in ship fuel was 3.5%. An alternative to achieving compliance with the regulation is for a vessel to use an exhaust gas cleaning system (scrubber). Wash-water from these scrubber systems is regulated under an international guideline.
Monitoring of SO2 in Hobart was discontinued in September 2020, following the new limits coming into force.
The EPA administers the Tasmanian Marine-related Incidents (MARPOL Implementation) Act 2020 which gives effect to parts of the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships 1983, including for oil, sewage, garbage, noxious liquids and packaged harmful substances. The Act applies to cruise ships in State waters.
Further information can be found at Hobart Port Air Monitoring.